Thousands of county residents remeber very clearly what they experienced in the wake of the Now, O&R has posted an online Q&A with President Bill Longhi about the utility’s response to that storm. In the document, he characterized the storm as the most damaging O&R has experienced.
“The snowstorm on October 29 was the worst natural disaster in O&R's history," he writes. "Devastation to our electric system eclipsed that of , with thousands of damaged or destroyed wires, poles and transformers affecting more than 134,000 customers. We responded by bringing in an additional 1,250 field personnel to aid our own employees in effectuating the recovery effort.”
Longhi replied to queries about the length of time to restore service, the utility’s preparation for the storm, the lack of visible personnel in affected areas, the changing restoration times, difficulties in communication and next steps. He stated the company intends to have expanded capabilities for answering customers’ calls, as well as enhanced online outage information available by the spring of 2012.
Longhi acknowledged although customer service phone lines were doubled in 2010, that capacity combined with routing some calls to sister company Con Ed was inadequate to handle the volume caused by the Nor’easter.
He listed three priority actions that O&R is taking:
1. Enhanced ability to process customer calls and inquiries.
2. More accurate and consistent projected restoration times.
3. Review of our storm response structure and processes.
Longhi stated the extensive damage caused by the storm frequently required multiple repairs in different locations to restore service to a single area—this led to the changes in online projected restoration times that many customers complained about.
He added that the tree damage was several times greater than caused by Hurricane Irene in late August.